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March 24, 2010



Poignant story. I will be in Argentina in Oct/Nov and I just read about the dirty war. Seems few countries can escape their own inherent evils.

Ana O'Reilly

Keith, there were too many evils, unfortunately. Yes, the military regime handled things terribly bad, but we must never forget that there were terrorists planting bombs and killing innocent people too. Neither side is free of blame. We need to let go of hatred and resentment on both sides and start to build a just, egalitarian society.


This topic is always fascinating to me because my Argentine friends are a bit all of the spectrum in how the talk about it. Some are annoyed by the Dia de la Memoria and the trials to bring people to justice for their actions during the Dirty War because they see these as a political ploy by the current govt to take the attention off of what needs to be done today. They want to move on. I can understand that. Others want to remember... to keep remembering so that it won't happen again and so that those who died didn't die in vane. I can understand that, too. I can't wait to read Horacio's guest post.


@Angela: Indeed, you`re right, this topic has an eternal life

Leigh Shulman

True. Every country has it's ugly parts of history. The Guerra Soucia really hit every part of Argentina. It's unthinkable, really.

When you're in Buenos Aires, you can check out the Madres de Plaza de Mayo. Every week they have something going on. It originally began as a protest and way to find their children, but it has grown into activism, a radio show and more.

Leigh Shulman


Thank you for your perspective. As someone who is not originally from this country, it is difficult to have an opinion one way or another.

What I appreciate so much about Horacio's telling of the story is that he doesn't really place blame or pull history into the present.

Also as an extranera, it's very hard to get my head around the idea of tens of thousands of people just disappearing.

But you are right, what is most important now is now. Argentina is an amazing place, and like every country it has its problems. Better to work toward fixing them than trying to change the past.

Leigh Shulman

And again, from an outsider's perspective, they both make a lot of sense.

It's so different when you live in a country where you can't really vote and have little to do with the political system here.

All I can say is there are so many things I love about this place, one of which is how strongly Argentinos connect with their history and culture. But as with every country, there is ugliness.

Horacio Álvarez

Hi everybody!.

I'm really glad to know that my chat with the kind Leigh has generated at least the space to discuss this topic. Actually was she who encouraged me to write and say what I think.

I partially agree with angela's friends comments. As it happens all over the world is much easier to keep people worried about things that have nothing to do with solving the several problems we have in our economy, public services and whatever you like to mention.

But that doesn't allow us to forget the terrible and cruel things we suffered some three decades ago. We had 30.000 people dissapeared by that nasty dictatorship as an organized response to the supposed generalized terrorist attacks. Nobody can denied that there were some forces which tried to impose the fear attacking military chiefs or military relatives.

In my opinion that was produced by some of the ones who belonged to the left side of the socialists parties. And once again, in my opinion, it was due because they were loosing their political importance. Little by little they were dissapearing of the political map, because they tried to become the strongest part of the "peronismo", the main political force at that moment. The one ruled by Juan Domingo Perón.
This leader expulsed this "left wing" of his political party after using them to win elections (in 1973) and to be the hardest part of his forces. It was like saying, you're not useful any more for me, go away.

This go away meant a declaration of war inside the peronismo. The "leftsiders" reacted as bad as they could, putting bombs, organizing attacks inside the party and against the military forces. And this was exactly what this leftsiders wanted to do, make sistematic attacks to them.

The reaction of the dictatorship was even worst, terrible. They took control of the government and imposed all over the population the fear of being suspected to be a terrorist.

There was a common phrase on those years "algo habrá hecho" (translation could be: for sure something dirty he has done), this statement was said by the common people to justify the kidpnaps made by the military government. And as a second thought "mejor no te metas" (something like you'd better don't ask what's happening).

As a result of all of this, we got a selfish, ignorant and really feared society of what happened.

That's why I say, let's remember what really happened, do not make the same mistakes. Let's learn to deffend our human rights. Let's be involved in what happens to our neighbor, to our friends, to our countrymates. In order to avoid this nasty inheritance that our sons received. Specially when still now there are people who say "during the dictatorship we were better than now", wishing they to come back, forgetting all the unhuman facts they did like babies kidnapping...

There are many other things to say and discuss, like who supported the military forces inside and outside the country, what was the economical reazon for supporting that dictatorship, etc.

Thanks for "listening" me and for forgiving my language mistakes.


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